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Summer 2014

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The first half of 2014 was full of surprises. No, we’re not alluding to David Letterman’s retirement or Donald Sterling selling the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Nor was it a surprise to see yet another Triple Crown hopeful (“California Chrome”) fall short. While the continuation of a strong stock market was a surprise to many, particularly given last year’s pronounced upward move, what really seemed to catch investors off guard was the remarkable combination of strong returns for bonds, equities and commodities. As we often note in these pages, short term market predictions (i.e. 12 to 24 months and under) are incredibly difficult to get consistently right, and the first half of 2014 proved this yet again. Much of what transpired in the past six months was not in anyone’s 2014 playbook.

The equity market stumbled out of the gate on the heels of a 32% surge for the S&P 500 in 2013. Most of what did well last year dipped rather abruptly, while the previous year’s laggards managed to find their footing. For example, Biotech and Small-Cap...

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